Review: Hanx Writer

My first typing experience was on grandma’s old manual Royal typewriter, a behemoth that eventually became a faithful companion into my late teens. That antique look, the hammering of keys, and the carriage ratcheting back and forth have all been faithfully recreated for the modern era, courtesy of Hanx Writer.

The brainchild of actor Tom Hanks, this free iPad app introduces users to Hanx Prime Select, a virtual typewriter described as “a writer’s best friend and confidant.” The moment we started tapping on its virtual keys, a sense of child-like wonder and delight washed over us. It’s so authentic that we just longed to drag our childhood friend out of the closet to play again.

Thankfully we don’t have to, because Hanx Writer is a perfect blend of old and new. True to its vintage roots, native iOS auto-correction is stifled here — make an error, and you’ll have to tap the incorrect word prior to being offered a substitute, the virtual equivalent of Liquid Paper. The on-screen keyboard is also pared back to the basics, but the app still works great via a Bluetooth input.

In-app purchases are similarly neutered for authenticity, such as the method of adding a photo to title pages, or a limited palette of ribbon color and text justification options. We’d love to see the addition of cloud storage support, but for now, documents can be opened with other apps supporting iOS file sharing.

The bottom line. Hanx Writer is a fantastic throwback to a bygone era that will have hardcore typists and casual users alike squealing with glee.

PROS:

  • Authentically re-creates the feel of a typewriter, but with modern additions like spelling correction. Supports file sharing with other apps. – See more at:

CONS:

  • Maybe not the best app for serious work.

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